The Green Bay Packers released tight end Martellus Bennett “because of a torn rotator cuff,” sources tell the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “He may try to play through it, but if he cannot, the Patriots could put him on Injured Reserve. No risk for them.”
Bennett played 83.4% of all the Packers offensive snaps prior to their week 8 bye, ranking second for all their skill players in snap rate, behind only wide receiver Davante Adams, and participated in their first bye week practice. He was a highly active piece of the Packers offense and his placement on the injury report with a shoulder injury was sudden and seemed like a reaction towards Bennett’s thoughts of possible retirement after the 2017 season.
The Packers claim that Bennett failed to disclose the injury, so perhaps Bennett’s been dealing with a shoulder injury all season; it certainly hasn’t affected his practice availability or his snaps on game day. Or maybe the Packers were just looking for a reason to move a player they didn’t see as a part of their future after the trade deadline.
Bennett played through injuries with the Patriots en route to winning Super Bowl LI, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him tough it out for the rest of the year. There’s also a chance that something actually did happen to Bennett’s shoulder during the bye week that made whatever injury previously existed much, much worse.
The recovery time for a torn rotator cuff varies based on the severity of the injury. It could take 4-6 weeks if it’s a minor injury that doesn’t require surgery, or 6 to 12 months if it’s serious and requires surgery. It’s also very possible that he could play through the injury and opt to wait until the end of the season to repair the injury, as he was doing prior to his release.
The Patriots doctors will have to get their full examination of Bennett, but either way New England thought Bennett’s potential was worth making the financial risk to add the tight end through the waivers process.